If you are waking up tired in the morning, perhaps you could be one of the 18 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is blockage of the airway during sleep, which can have serious life-shortening consequences such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
In an attempt to make things easier for the growing number of people who have suspected sleep apnea, two board- certified sleep physicians with a pulmonary/critical care/sleep disorders medical practice in Grand Blanc Michigan have been researching and developing a method of testing for sleep apnea using a smart phone. Dr. Mark Rittenger and Dr. Gregory Streff, of Michigan Lung and Critical Care Specialists, have teamed with Spud Software to create an app designed to use with a smart phone and simplify the testing process. Nocturnal Polysomnography, or sleep study, is usually done in a sleep lab, with the patient hooked up to wires, and monitored during sleep by a sleep technologist. Many patients are unable or unwilling to have an in- lab study, or their insurance company may only cover a home sleep test. This new medical application will allow patients to do the testing outside of the lab, with the data being recorded via an Android phone and the data is then uploaded and sent to the physician for interpretation.
The app is for Android phones, which the patient would receive in a purpose-built enclosure designed to protect the phone and wire harness during a sleep study, with the app pre-installed. The enclosure for the smartphone and wire harness is military grade and the program has been designed with easy to follow, step by step instructions for hookup. The device and application will be as comprehensive a sleep study as possible using a portable device, and it is expected it will be approved by FDA for patient use.
Imagine if you are a truck driver or pilot who is required to be tested annually for sleep apnea in order to maintain your license. This device will give the capability to test on the road without having to physically go into the sleep lab—it can be done in the sleep cab of a truck or a hotel room.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that should not go untested once symptoms present or if a sleep disorder is suspected. The new app has already made a difference, having detected abnormal heart rate in one patient during testing, possibly saving his life. So, if you feel you might have a sleep disorder, this new app might just be the tool for a quick and easy diagnosis.